The appeal of “none of the above”

Yesterday’s Washington Times carried an interesting story on its American Survey: “Gearing up for election 2004.” The survey measures the strength of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic candidates for president against President Bush. I think Hillary does remarkably well, especially if one contemplates her as a candidate against someone other than President Bush in 2008. Here is the Times summary of the response to the survey’s second question:
“The second question was with which of the candidates respondents would prefer to spend an hour. It is nearly axiomatic that voters in an election typically prefer the more likable candidate. Measured against this yardstick, Mrs. Clinton performed well, easily beating all of the Democratic candidates. In fact, her 27 percent share was more than the other Democratic candidates combined (23 percent). Yet, she still placed 10 points behind the president (37 percent). Here, however, the gender gap was most pronounced, with men preferring Mr. Bush by 24 points, and women preferring Mrs. Clinton by two points.”
But the Times adds: “As an interesting side note, ‘none of the above’ which wasn’t even offered as an option, scored as highly (9 percent) as any of the announced Democratic candidates.”
Question three is also worth a look: “Third, we asked who (among political figures) respondents would like children to emulate. The combined Democratic candidates scored a bit better this time, edging into a tie (17 percent) with Mrs. Clinton (17 percent). This time, however, women broke for the president (30 percent to 22 percent).”
Let’s not forget the attraction of “none of the above” in this field: “Again, ‘none of the above’ (once again not an offered option) scored 18 percent.” (Courtesy of RealClearPolitics.)

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